U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced that following her push, a vital 15% increase in SNAP benefits and her proposal to expand the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program are included in the latest coronavirus relief package. Senator Gillibrand also secured $175 million for Older Americans Act Nutrition Services to support efforts to deliver nutritious meals for older adults. Food banks across New York and the country have experienced growing and unprecedented demand since March. In New York 13% of rural families depend on SNAP while 15% of those in metro areas rely on the program. Although the need for SNAP has drastically increased as many Americans have lost their jobs and are struggling to put food on the table due to the COVID-19 crisis, the 15% increase has not been included in previous coronavirus response packages. Senator Gillibrand’s proposals will not only increase SNAP benefits for each family, they will expand eligibility by removing harmful barriers to access, and will put healthy and nutritious food on the table for families in need.
“As the country experiences another dangerous wave of coronavirus infections, and the economy continues to suffer, it’s critical that hardworking Americans have the resources to keep their families fed. For months I have fought to increase SNAP benefits and I’m proud that this vital increase is finally included in this current package,” said Senator Gillibrand. “In this time of uncertainty we must ensure that SNAP and P-EBT can respond to growing demand and reach as many Americans as possible. The investments in these programs will provide a vital lifeline and prevent more hungry children from slipping through the cracks. There’s more work to be done, and I will continue working across the aisle to help New Yorkers keep food on the table during this crisis and beyond.”
Senator Gillibrand has been a leader in the fight to combat the growing hunger crisis since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the summer, Gillibrand visited food banks across New York State and repeatedly urged congressional leadership to include the 15% increase in SNAP benefits. Gillibrand also proposed the Ensuring Nutrition for America’s Students Act, and called on Congress to pass the bill in order to expand eligibility for P-EBT, make the program more responsive to changes in virtual and in person learning, and ensure low-income children who have been previously left out of the program have access to nutritious meals throughout the COVID-19 crisis.